Graham Jones was born in Garston, Liverpool the son of a Welsh railwayman. Garston was a dockland area and he remembers his grandfather arriving home in a gabardine raincoat which was frequently stuffed with coal on one side and bananas on the other. The old boy was a gate keeper at the dockland railway and the train drivers would “accidently” kick coal off the footplate. Dockers returning from their shift would drop off small quantities of the produce that was coming in to the port. Sometimes there would be tomatoes or oranges.
When he was five, the family moved to Groeslon in North Wales where his father worked as a relief signalman on the Lleyn Peninsula in North Wales. This was a cultural shock for the small boy from Liverpool. He felt isolated until he learned Welsh and was able to integrate more fully with the chapel based community, rich in the music and poetry of the eisteddfodau.
He describes those years as the most happy of his life and the genesis of his lifelong interest in poetry, singing, story telling, and an innate love of nature and of Wales itself. At the chapel eisteddfodau, coached by Esyllt, a teenage neighbour, he would learn to recite poems and sing songs. On a Sunday, with his father, he would attend evening services in the Methodist Chapel and learn the beautiful melodies of the Welsh Hymns.
When he was 10, his father was appointed station master at Gwyddelwern a small village in the then county of Merioneth in North Wales. Graham spent many happy hours helping out on a local hill farm and riding the footplate of the passing trains [in the days before health and safety!]. In complete freedom, he roamed the local country side, fishing for eels under bridges, gathering watercress from the streams, collecting primroses from the hedgerows – it was idyllic. There remained also the chapels and their eisteddfodau and Graham embraced them with a passion.